BATON ROUGE, La. — To call LSU’s offense “vanilla” in its Week 1 upset would be an insult to the flavor of ice cream that makes root beer floats possible. But it certainly was as bland as a Cajun finds any form of Northern cooking.
The Tigers only managed 257 yards of offense in their 16-14 loss to Wisconsin, and did not show much creativity in the process as Brandon Harris worked the ball to only three targets not named Leonard Fournette.
Fans peppered Les Miles with questions about how to get the offense going during his radio show on Wednesday night, and he promised that the playbook is not as boring as it appeared in the season opener. The trouble was LSU didn’t have a chance to get to most of the plays in the book because the offense spent so little time on the field.
Wisconsin dominated the time of possession battle by a margin of nearly a quarter, holding onto the ball for 37 minutes to LSU’s 23.
“To me it’s not the playbook, it’s having enough opportunities to continue to move the chains and get enough plays on the field,” Miles said. “We didn’t have snaps. We had more offense to call, but we only had 50-plus snaps.”
In fact, it was 50 snaps right on the dot — 23 fewer than the Badgers, who don’t exactly push the tempo. Last year, LSU averaged just more than 66 snaps per game on offense.
LSU only had one drive with more than two first downs, and was 2 of 10 on third down.
And yes, Miles said that the unused plays do incorporate tight ends. The only throw to a tight end Saturday was a 19-yard connection to DeSean Smith to start LSU’s final drive.
“We like the tight end throwing game,” Miles told a caller. “It’s something we need to get more of. That is absolutely a piece of the offense we must use.”